Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, can be one of the most difficult diseases for parents to recognize in their children.
One of the difficulties in recognizing it stems from secrecy and the fact that those in active addiction are often good at hiding their behavior from their family and friends. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your child and pay attention to the following signs:
Dilated or constricted pupils
Bloodshot or glazed eyes
Lack of eye contact
Poor hygiene (different or worse than usual)
Bruises or infections of the skin
Changes in personality or attitude
Increased aggression or irritability
Sudden change in friends or social circles
No longer having friends over
Leaving the house quickly so parents can’t interact with friends
Grades in school drop
Sudden interest in taking walks, walking the dog, etc.
Depression or isolation
Many naps and sleeping throughout the day
Dramatic changes in priorities
Stealing small items (change, gift cards, etc.) and moving onto bigger items
Missing items they “lost,” more than likely sold or traded
Being sneaky, but when caught, playing it off like a joke
Head down, shoulders slouched, hoodies pulled up covering most of their face
If you feel that your child may be suffering from substance use disorder, please contact Jennifer Belemu, PRS, Heartland High School’s Recovery Coach, at email@example.com or (614) 260-7915. For more information about Heartland High School, visit www.heartlandhighschool.org.
Parents are also invited to reach out to Melissa Murphy, Heartland High School’s Parent Coach. Melissa has walked the same path as parents of children with substance use disorder; her son is in recovery. To reach out to Melissa, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 915-8853.